November 12, 2018 For Immediate Release
Yupi the Mexican polar bear dead at Morelia Zoo
just one day before US can move forward
According to the Benito Juarez Zoo in Morelia, Mexico, Yupi the polar bear died this morning due to “complications in her health.” It is not yet known whether the zoo euthanized Yupi or if they found her deceased in her enclosure.
Yupi’s death occurs after the United States revoked its original 1992 Letter of Authorization “loaning” Yupi to the zoo. It is remarkably also just one day before the end of the mandatory 45 day waiting period, after which the United States Fish and Wildlife Service could move forward with efforts to repatriate Yupi to the US.
Yupi has been the focus of a multi-year effort, led by Zoocheck Canada, to have her moved to more appropriate accommodation in a better climate elsewhere. Just months ago when it looked like Yupi would finally be going to a better life in a world class polar bear facility in the United Kingdom the Benito Juarez Zoo reneged on the legal agreement to have her transferred.
“We were shocked when the zoo pulled out of our agreement to move Yupi. She could have been in much better conditions several months ago where the enhanced conditions might have improved her health and mental wellbeing,” said Rob Laidlaw, Zoocheck Executive Director.
In their statement zoo officials claim they provided Yupi with exemplary care and constant medical check ups according to established regulations and protocols. But when Zoocheck’s world renowned polar bear veterinary team examined Yupi in 2017 they found her in poor condition with painful broken teeth and other issues. And the team found no evidence of the cardio myopathy (heart disease) the zoo claimed prevented Yupi from being moved.
The zoo also mentions improvements to Yupi’s accommodation, but these are all items that were added to the enclosure after external pressure was applied by Zoocheck and other groups in Mexico and abroad.
Laidlaw adds, “The timing of Yupi’s death seems exceptionally coincidental. Since the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has the right, under the Letter of Authorization, to attend Yupi’s necropsy, that’s what we’ll be encouraging them to do. We want to know what happened. This isn’t over yet.”
The millions of people who followed Yupi’s tragic story deserve more than a media statement from the zoo, so Zoocheck will pursue additional information about Yupi’s death and will explore other options to get to the bottom of what happened.
For more information:
Zoocheck (416) 285-1744